Alex Honnold has become the first climber to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite, by climbing Freerider. On 3rd June 2017, Honnold left all ropes and gear at the bottom of the 3000ft monolith and began climbing at 5:32am, topping out in 3 hours and 56 minutes. This ascent marks the pinnacle so far of Honnold's breathtaking CV, and is undoubtedly one of the most significant ascents in the history of the sport.
Honnold has been working Freerider since last Autumn, climbing it countless times in preparation. The route was the obvious choice for a solo ascent, being the 'easiest' way to free climb on El Cap, at 5.12d (equivalent to f7c/+). Freerider features some noteworth pitches; 'The Monster Offwidth' - a miserable wide crack that has been known to break people and 'The Boulder Problem' pitch which is the crux of the entire route and is essentially one hard move off a tiny handhold.
Honnold flew to fame within the climbing world in 2008, with his solo of Moonlight Buttress in Zion. He went on to top this with a solo ascent of Half-Dome, where there is an iconic image of him standing on the 'Thank God Ledge' looking outwards. Perhaps Honnold's most significant escapade to date was the 'Triple Crown,' where he soloed the three biggest walls in Yosemite, climbing free and using aid.
We tracked down Pete Whittaker, who rope-soloed Freerider last November for a comment on Honnold's ascent and all we could get out of him was: "Holy shit sticks!"
We'll be in touch with Alex shortly to ask him about his ascent.
Glad/relieved/inspired to hear that @alexhonnold managed his solo of El Cap yesterday. After bumping into him/filmers last November, at the top and bottom of Freerider, I was genuinely quite worried for him (even though we've only spoken a couple of times) as I knew it was only a matter of time before he gave it ago. I remember a quote from from one of the Reel Rock films from someone saying 'it's hard to wrap you head around what Honnold does', This ascent will surely bend people's minds. I'm sure the ascent won't inspire people to go and freesolo on El Cap, but it should inspire people to go out and complete their own goals at whatever level. Like in any sport, rather than the achievement itself, I'm more inspired by the months of unseen effort/preparation/training that lies behind the achievement. Like @tommycaldwell and @kjorgeson with Dawn Wall. @adam.ondra with Dura Dura, in other sports Usain Bolt completing the Olympic Triple, triple gold (triple gold, in three consecutive Olympics). People really only ever see the end product and forget/don't understand what actually goes into it. It's great to see that Alex's months/years of preparation have paid off and he managed to execute his lifetime goal with perfect precision (and a bloody good job he did as well). What a fantastic effort :) Photo (c) Jeff Johnson: two pitches from the top of Freerider (with a rope of course ;) ) back in 2014 @natgeo @natgeoadventure #natgeo #climbing #goals
VIDEO: Alex Honnold solo on Mount Watkins, the first route of the Triple Crown: